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Inspirational Newham women celebrate International Women’s Day

8 March 2019 in Events and Mayor
Newham Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz led a celebration of the contribution made by women in the borough, with a special International Women’s Day breakfast at Stratford Town Hall, this morning (Friday 8 March), attended by over a hundred women from across the borough, representing a range of community organisations and from many walks of life.
After her speech Mayor Fiaz unveiled a plaque to Daisy Parsons, who became the first woman Mayor of West Ham in 1936.

Addressing the invited group, the Mayor welcomed those assembled and said: “Standing here with all of you this morning to celebrate international women’s day, the energy and power in the room is evident, and an inspiration, and I would like to thank you all for your vital contribution, despite all of the challenges we face.

“International Women’s Day is celebrated globally, this year promoting “Balance for Better”, and today it remains necessary for us to do all that we can to ensure a more equal society, and that women are represented at all levels, including the right to sit at the top table.

“A key feature of my administration is about enabling communities, to make sure our voices are heard, and that women’s voices are heard.

“There remains much to do, including the need to challenge government cuts and to collectively do our best to make Newham the best place that it can be.

“Newham has a very proud tradition of championing women’s rights. Later I will unveil a plaque for Daisy Parsons, the first ever female Mayor for the Borough, and it is a testament to Newham that it has been historically the birthplace of important progressive social movements and has been in the leadership of struggles for the advancement of our society. Women like Daisy were leading figures in the suffragette movement, making their mark in challenging injustice, poverty and inequality. We celebrate their legacy, and pledge to ensure people of all backgrounds and genders have equal life chances and the opportunity to achieve their potential.”

A further plaque is set to be unveiled at East Ham Town Hall in honour of one of the first women MPs, Susan Lawrence who in 1923 became the Member of Parliament for East Ham North. Prior to taking her seat Susan served as a local councillor, and dedicated her time to improving the working conditions of women factory workers in the East End and beyond. In 1921 she was even imprisoned in Holloway for five weeks for defying a central government dictate to raise local taxes.

Mayor Fiaz said ‘The issue of women’s rights remains a crucial issue today and something which my administration seeks address. Last month we passed a budget with women at its heart, challenging poor wages for care workers by insisting on the implementation of London Living Wage.

“We also introduced measures to cut Council Tax for our 19,000 poorest residents, and supporting the overwhelming number of woman who are struggling single parents.

She concluded by paying tribute to the work of women across the borough: “All of you are inspirational women and it is important that we all recognise our power and that we can do anything. Over the coming year we will continue to create the spaces to come together, to have the conversations and get to know each other. United we are stronger.”

Following the speech, a number of women spoke about their own experiences, both personally and in the work that they do professionally and voluntarily across the Borough, before joining the Mayor, women Cabinet Members and Councillors to unveil the plaque to honour Daisy Parsons.